The Life History Of Gautama Buddha: Stories & Teachings are a huge inspiration to many. The word “Buddha” means a person who has attained full prajna or enlightenment; and also the one who spreads wisdom. This title was attained by Prince Siddhartha Gautama at a very young age of 29 years when he set his foot upon his journey in search of spiritual enlightenment foregoing all his princely pleasures and luxuries. His journey started with the sole motive of finding out the reasons behind the widespread poverty and miseries suffered by humankind.
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- Life History Of Gautama Buddha
- Turning Point In Life History Of Gautam Buddha
- Gautama Buddha Story: The Beginning Of His Quest
- Gautama Buddha Images
- Lord Mahavira - “The Four Noble Truths”
- Life History Of Gautama Buddha
- How Did Buddha Die: Mahaparinirvana
- Lord Buddha's Parinirvarna Final Words
- Gautama Buddha Teachings
- Three Universal Truths Of The Buddha
- The Four Noble Truths Of Buddhism
- The Noble Truth Of Suffering
- The Noble Truth of Cause of Suffering:
- The Noble Truth Of End Of Suffering
- Path To End Suffering:
- Noble Eight Fold Path or Middle Way
- The Triple Jewel Of Gautama Buddha
- The Five Precepts Of Buddhism
- Teachings Of Lord Gautama Buddha
Life History Of Gautama Buddha
Born in Lumbini (Presently in Nepal) in the year 53 BC to Queen Maya and King Suddhodana, who was a leader of a large clan called the Shakya. His birth name was "Siddhartha Gautama". Unfortunately his birth mother died shortly after his birth, after which his step mother Gautami took care of his upbringing. There was a strong belief amongst the then learned scholars of the kingdom that the boy would either grown up to be a great King, a military leader or a great spiritual leader.
The King fearing that his son would get attracted to the spiritual aspects of life, did not allow him to even step out of the Palace; and therefore being confined to the Palace he was overloaded with nothing but the pleasures and luxuries of Princely life. King Suddhodana aspired his son to become a great King and hence kept him away from all the worldly sufferings and the harsh realities of life, as also the spiritual and religious aspects.
Turning Point In Life History Of Gautam Buddha
But as destiny had it, one day Prince Siddhartha asked his charioteer to take him on a tour of the city. While travelling through the city he came across an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a holy man without a home (ascetic). The Prince who had been oblivious to the truths of life and death had all of a sudden confronted the concepts of death, sickness, old age and ascetism. The charioteer told the Prince that some people renounce their worldly pleasures in search of answers to the reasons behind the sufferings faced by mankind.
Prince Siddhartha was very disturbed by all these sights; he started to evaluate the very reason of his existence. The King was very upset by all these happenings, and hence decided to push Siddhartha into family life, which he hoped would do the trick. His father got him married at a young age of 16 years to a young girl named Yashodhara who was of the same age too. For some time the Prince got involved in his family life; but his sub-conscious mind never forgot those disturbing scenes. On one starry night, he left his wife and new born son Rahul along with all the Princely pleasures in search of the ultimate truth.
Gautama Buddha Story: The Beginning Of His Quest
Siddhartha was barely 29 years old when he left his palace in search of answers to self-realization. He followed a life of self-discipline and extreme austerity in terms of food habits, sleep and daily lifestyle. The result being that his body started to give up slowly; he had to deal with a lot of physical sufferings. He started off as a lone traveler in this quest, but later on he gained the support of five men who eventually became his ardent followers.
Many months passed, his starvation and self-denial proved futile in his attempt to find answers to his questions. Then something happened which turned the course of events for him. After several days of starvation, he decided to get some food for himself. He accepted a small bowl rice from a young girl in the neighbourhood. This was the turning point for him when he realized that following harsh lifestyle and severe austerity did not serve any purpose. Achieving a balance between spiritual path and worldly life is the need of the hour. His focus shifted to achieving a path of balance; but his followers misunderstood him for having gone back to worldly pleasures and so deserted him.
Siddhartha never lost his focus; he believed that self-reflection (meditation) is the best way to connect with the soul. He made up his mind to meditate until he had found enlightenment. He chose a fig tree (now called the bodhi tree) and started meditating and promised himself not to move until he found answers to his spiritual quest. In his deep meditation mode he saw his entire life happenings and that of previous births too. It is said that after 49 days of meditation, he finally got an answer to his questions. He obtained pure enlightenment, and in that moment of enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the “Buddha” (he who is awake). At the time of his enlightenment he gained complete insight into the reasons of suffering and how the humans could escape all this trauma.
Gautama Buddha Images
Lord Mahavira - “The Four Noble Truths”
Gautama Buddha emphasizes on the four steps to attain spiritual enlightenment –
- Dukkha (suffering)
- Samudaya (cause of suffering)
- Nirodha (state of mind free from suffering)
- Marga (way to end suffering)
It is believed that Buddha was initially reluctant to share his knowledge with the commons as he doubted if they could understand his teachings or not. But then, the King of Gods, Brahma along with the other Gods convinced Buddha to go ahead with his sermons. They told him that there are a few blessed souls on this Earth who will be able to understand his teachings. He chose "The Deer Park" in Sarnath to deliver his first sermon and it is there that he encountered with his bygone associates. His followers reaffirmed their lost faith in Buddha and became his ardent followers from then on.
Life History Of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha spent almost 45 years of his life spreading his knowledge to people from all walks of life. After achieving a great amount of success in this he died peacefully at the age of 80 years in 483 BCE at Kushinagar in India. The strong foundation of Buddhism being established by Gautama Buddha has found admiration and huge religious following in various parts of the world including Southeast Asia, Tibet, parts of Russia.
How Did Buddha Die: Mahaparinirvana
It is believed that Buddha received his last meal as an offering from a blacksmith by name Cunda. After falling extremely ill due to food poisoning, Buddha instructed his attendant Ananda to communicate to Cunda that the meal served by him had nothing to do with his death and that his meal would be a source of the greatest merit as it provided the last meal for a Buddha.
The contents of Buddha's final meal have some ambiguity. While some believe that he was offered some kind of spoiled pork, others say that the rice was offered along with poisonous mushroom/truffle.
Lord Buddha's Parinirvarna Final Words
Tradition says that the Buddha died at Kuśināra, today called Kushinagar which is a pilgrimage centre in UP, India.
His grief-stricken followers gathered to hear the Buddha’s final teaching before he left the world forever. Lord Buddha asked his disciples if they had any final doubts & his final words were -
"All composite things, (Saṅkhāra) are perishable. Strive for your own liberation with diligence" (Pali: 'vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā').
When Ananda, his disciple was weeping, the Buddha told:
"Enough, Ananda! Do not grieve, do not lament. For have I not taught from the very beginning that with all that is dear and beloved, there must be change, separation and severance? Of that which is born, come into being, compounded, and subject to decay, how can one say: 'May it not come to dissolution' ? There can be no such state of things ... Now you should put forth energy, and soon you too will be free from the taints."
Lord Gautama Buddha's body was cremated and the relics were placed various in monuments / stupas some of which are known to still exist. For instance, the Temple of the Tooth called "Dalada Maligawa" in Sri Lanka is the place where the relic of the right tooth of Buddha is preserved.
Gautama Buddha Teachings
After attaining Nirvana, Lord Gautama Buddha Teachings commenced near Benares with five holy men and who were his first followers. For 45 years, Buddha along with his disciples started spreading Dhamma all over India
Lord Mahavira Buddha found answers to 3 universal questions during his enlightenment and explained the truth in simple ways.
Three Universal Truths Of The Buddha
1. Nothing Is lost In The Universe:
The 1st universal truth of Lord Buddha was "Nothing is lost" in this universe. Our old solar systems disintegrate into cosmic rays. We are the children of our parents and we will be the parents of our children.
If we destroy anything around us, we will destroy ourselves. If we lie to another, we lie to ourselves. What goes comes around. Never kill or harm any animal.
2. Everything changes:
Change is the only constant truth. The 2nd universal truth is everything changes continuously. Dinosaurs don't exist anymore. Nor does the cruel pratha of Sati. Life is like a river, it keeps on flowing, ever-changing.
3. Law Of Cause And Effect:
"The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed, You will joyfully gather good fruit. "
A mirror smiles at you only if you smile at it. If we do some good things, then good things will come to us. If we do something evil, then evil things will happen to us. It law of "cause and effect" is known as Karma.
so, always think good, be good & do good.
The Four Noble Truths Of Buddhism
The Noble Truth Of Suffering
"There is happiness in life, happiness in friendship,
happiness of a family, happiness in a healthy body and mind,
but when one loses them, there is suffering."
What is suffering?
Suffering is common everywhere – Everyone suffers. When people are born, they cry. When they are old & sick, they groan in pain. When people die, someone dear to them experiences sorrow on their death.
The Noble Truth of Cause of Suffering:
What is the cause of these suffering? Why do we feel pain? Why do people suffer?
Cause of Suffering – Selfish, greed, desire and ignorance & wrong idea of pleasure.
The Noble Truth Of End Of Suffering
End of Suffering – Renunciation of greed and ignorance. In order to end these suffering, one must be able to overcome greed & worldly pleasures. One must not be ignorant & must try to live in a natural way and must possess peaceful mind, called Nirvana. This is the highest goal and aim of Buddhism.
Path To End Suffering:
The path to end the suffering, is called Noble Eightfold path or Middle way.
Noble Eight Fold Path or Middle Way
The path to ending the suffering of people is known as Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Way. Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Buddha. These teachings of Buddha described the way leading to a cessation of dukkha and the state of self-awakening.
1. Right View:
The knowledge & wisdom about the cause of suffering & how to end the cause of suffering is called right view.
2. Right Intention:
To understand the "right intention" or the “right thought”, one should be able to differentiate between right and wrong intention. One should be positive & break shackles of ill will is what right intention will teach you.
3. Right Speech:
One should always keep themselves from lying and ill speech. One should make best use of their speech and abandon false speech and always speak truth.
4. Right Action / Right Conduct
One should never hurt others or criticize them. A well behaved individual is wise & mindful of his deeds & speaks without causing discord with his speech. The 5 Mindfullness Tranings are -
- Respect life & protect all living beings.
- Be generous & do not exploit others.
- Avoid sexual misconduct & exploitation.
- Avoiding language that causes enmity & create barriers that separate us.
- Consume healthy food and avoiding intoxicants, including the television programs we watch. Entertainments that are addictive or cause agitation are best avoided.
5. Right Livelihood
"Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."
Do not choose a living where your way of living may directly or indirectly harm others. You should not engage in the following 5 businesses -
Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants & business in poison.
6. Right Effort
Right efforts or “right endeavor” is to take right actions & not necessarily "hard". The 5 hindrances that interfere with the "right effort" are sensual desires, ill will, sloth or drowsiness, restlessness & worry, uncertainty or skepticism.
7. Right Mindfulness
One must be conscious of the phenomena that their doings will affect the body and mind. This means one must be cognizant of their thoughts, words, and actions.
8. Right Concentration
Also known as “right meditation”, it teaches people to concentrate and focus one thing or one object at a time. Thus leading quiet, tranquil and peaceful mind.
Meticulously following these 8 Noble Eightfold Path, we can cultivate their wisdom, leading to the path to attain “nirvana”.
The Triple Jewel Of Gautama Buddha
Lord Gautama Buddha establishes the three refuges for people to follow his teachings. A "refuge" is the place where people can rely on and go to for the purpose of safety. The three refuges that Lord Buddha establishes are as follows:
- Buddha is the guide
- Dharma is the path
- Sangha are the teachers and companions along the way.
The Five Precepts Of Buddhism
Buddha established 5 critical rules and called them Five Precepts. In the state of Nirvana the soul reunites to its pure state and stop wandering in incarnations and karma.
- Respect For Life - Abstain from killing any living being or creature
- Respect For Property - Avoid stealing or taking anything which is not yours
- Respect For Pure Nature - Refrain from sexual misconduct
- Respect For Honesty - Avoid lying
- Respect For A Clear Mind - Avoid intoxication or any false drinks
These are some of the teachings of Lord Buddha the has been passed down for centuries for the sake of humanity. Every Buddhist swears to abide by these 5 Golden Rules.
Teachings Of Lord Gautama Buddha
The Supreme Power that controls the universe has no form or name.
Strong characters are built by doing good deeds and kind thoughts.
Before criticizing anyone it is better to see what you are doing.
Always do good and do not waste time and effort on things that lead to harm.
Be aware of your words and deeds.
Death is not the end of life. Energy changes into matter and matter again into energy like pale leaf fell on the ground mixes with soil, seed fell on earth to give rise to new plant and so on.
Three poisons i.e. greed, hatred and stupidity keep us in the wheel of life and death.
Be tolerant of all other religions. One should respect every spiritual person and this is a very good deed. It is just like lighting one candle from that of other. Now there won’t be the light of one candle but two candles which will illuminate you and your life.
Original source of teachings from Buddhism.
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